Yesterday was a most challenging day. Total chaos in the salon--loud, bad 80's music all day-Donna Summer, Duran Duran and, and, and, oh well, I just tuned it out. Eight chairs packed, every stylist had two clients going at at least once throughout the day. Our new receptionist that just started this week, gone, and we were short assistants. I felt fragile. Then, Betty walked in. She was visiting from Boston for the holiday. Within moments she revealed her age, a surprising eighty one years did not show. She stood about 6'3"years old, and wore a wide, beautiful smile. She was stylish and well-dressed, in a Chico's kind of way, she made the clothing look classy. Drama was written all over her, however, not yet expressed in her hair design.
She was scheduled for a blow dry. And, when I set the dryer down, I asked, "How long has it been since you had a cut?"
She said, "Just last week. But you may do whatever you want." Music to my ears. As I nipped away, creating some asymmetry in the fringe area and taking weight of the top, she opened her heart, by telling me a difficult story, obviously one that changed her life forever. A story that required an indomitable inner strength to survive.
She talked about her community of friends and how they have been there for her. And then we came back around to her hair. She said, "I have been with my stylist for thirty eight years, even when sometimes I'm not happy."
"That is loyalty." I responded.
"Yes. I wouldn't think of changing, we have a relationship. He's part of my community," she said. And because I am a friend of her daughters, she treated me as if I were a member as well.
As she waved goodbye, she remarked, "This is the cut I have always wanted. I'm going to have to move here now." We both laughed and knew that would never happen. I walked into the break room with the feeling I had met somebody with a kind heart, a sense of humor, and a deep soul.